Are we Alive?

“The question is not if Jesus is alive in us, the question is are we alive to Jesus alive in us?”

Love, truth, grace, mercy, forgiveness and compassion are not just what we receive from God in and through our relationship with Christ Jesus, but also what we carry as a result of it. The moment we are born again, we are are quickened by The Spirit of God to the things of God. We become pregnant with Promise and co-heirs with Christ. We are seated at the right hand of The Father in Heavenly places with Christ Jesus as Sons and Daughters of The Most High God. In short, by “coming to” ourselves we embark upon a journey of “becoming” ourselves.

When we receive Jesus, we not only receive salvation for our souls for all Eternity, but also the privilege of outworking that salvation through the power of The Holy Spirit ALIVE on the inside of us. The same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead now dwells within us. So, the question is not if Jesus is alive in us, because He is; the question is are WE alive to Jesus alive in us?

What do I mean by that? Let’s try and unpack this together.

Jesus is the very embodiment of Agape Love, unceasing Grace, unreasonable Forgiveness, unfathomable Joy, unrelenting Mercy. As His chosen vessels, we thus become instruments in the Hands of God to extend the same that we have received extravagantly to the world we find ourselves positioned in, whether it is family, marriage, business, workplace, community or neighborhood. The degree to which we allow ourselves to be schooled by the Holy Spirit, thereby birthing the fruits of the Holy Spirit ( love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control) is the degree to which we will be able to extend the same to our neighbors and become increasingly transformed and conformed to the image of Christ. This is both, the strength and the supreme delight of our walk with The Lord: the process of transformation.

Where we once succumbed to the lusts and passions of this world at the expense of how it was damaging our souls, we are now convicted by the Holy Spirit; but it is entirely upto us to obey or override. The more we learn to obey when God is dealing with the issues of our heart, the quicker we pass the test and graduate to the next level. Where we once would have easily lost our temper, now the Spirit of The Living God intervenes and gives us both, the strength and the willingness to choose better. As we slowly yield and surrender, we will find ourselves in the midst of a journey that only goes from glory to glory.

The Bible puts it like this,

” The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.”

This verse clearly talks of “the way” of the righteous. I believe that if we are to truly experience the fullness of the life that God has in store for us, then we will have made a truly smart decision to yield to “the way” of The Holy Spirit, honoring and co-partnering with what God is doing IN us and then THROUGH us. The more Christ-like we allow Him to make us, the more He will be able to use us as hands and feet of Jesus in the Earth, needless to say that opportunities, resources and relationships will inevitably follow and find us. We are all familiar with what I will quote once again because this Truth etched out in our inmost being is able to unleash EVERYTHING that God has put on our hearts,

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

I believe the deeper we allow the Holy Spirit to go in us, the more The Father is able to trust us; trust us with greater blessings, favor and finances. To be a good steward on the level we are on is a prerequisite before He elevates us to the next. And the only way to be a good steward of time, talent and treasure is to have allowed ourselves to be humble enough to learn from who I consider the greatest Teacher on planet Earth – The Holy Spirit of God.

It is The Holy Spirit that we are sealed with who teaches us to reach out or hold back, to to speak up or exercise restraint, to go forth with marching orders or stand still and watch the salvation of The Lord. He is our Friend, Comforter and Counselor- things that we too ought to feel like to the world around and about us. He is Jesus ALIVE in us. But the question that persists is simply this: are we alive to Him?

Because if we are, then we would know what it is to forgive that person we have held a grudge against for far too long, to love that person who seems a tad bit too difficult to handle, to show genuine empathy to that friend who has had to endure an illness that was both, unexpected and too long extended, to reach out with compassion to that co-worker whose marriage that seemed to possess much promise for the future simply fell apart without caution; in short, to be salt and light in a lost and broken world.

Bill Johnson puts it like this,

“The Holy Spirit is in you and He wants out. He is in you as a river, not a lake.”

Rivers flow, lakes are rather still. Rivers merge with one another, lakes are rather self-contained. Rivers symbolize movement, lakes exemplify placidity. And Jesus promised us that out of our innermost being will flow continually RIVERS of living water.

Friends, let us not restrict the flow that God has begun in and through our lives. The more alive we are to the Truth that Jesus is alive within us , and the more we allow Him to work through us, guess what the inevitable outcome will be?

We will see more of Jesus AROUND us.

Selah.

Grace

“But because we have done nothing, we have everything to do.”

The gift of Salvation in and through the blood of Christ Jesus is just that: a gift. It is something we have done nothing to earn or deserve, but have received as pure Grace. A Grace that found us dead in our transgressions, wrapped up in our brokenness, and desperate for a way out. A Grace that found us looking for solutions to temporal problems, but was lavish enough to bestow upon us Eternal answers. A Grace that rescued us from the dominion of darkness and translated us into His Marvelous Light. A Grace that showed us who we are and more importantly, WHOSE we are. A Grace that gave us promises of a new life, dripping with God’s favor and abundance. A Grace that wiped our slate of sin clean, creating a blank canvass for Our Creator to paint on with the vivid colors that was always His Original Design. A Grace that gives us the courage to open up our wings and soar into the clear, blue unknown. A Grace that gives us access to spiritual blessings we would never even had the wisdom to pray for. A Grace that gives us a new Identity synonymous with “Beloved,” a Purpose in accordance with the heartbeat of Heaven , and a Destiny to belong to that which in the feeble strength of our own good works, we would NEVER have had access to.

But Grace.

Grace that came disguised in the Person of Jesus Christ, as He descended from Eternity to Earth, fully God and fully man, to die a gruesome death on The Cross in order that we may be healed, redeemed, set free and on our way back Home. The Word testifies,

“But He was wounded for our trangressions , He was bruised for our iniquities : the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes, we are healed.”

Grace has bought our freedom for us, and we are no longer in debt because Someone chose to pay it in full.

Clearly, Grace points to the unconditional, uncompromising and unadulterated Love of Our Father. The question then remains is this : what is our response?

Our responses may invariably vary, but I personally believe that the only reasonable response to such Love is to become subtle yet potent extensions of it, extensions which have the potential to touch and transform a lost and hurting world, a world we find ourselves in the midst of, a world that is exhausted by striving in its own strength to make happen that which Grace effortlessly does, a world that is unwittingly looking for answers Grace has already deposited on the inside of us, a world whose Destiny is intertwined with our decision to come into our own. As The Bible clearly states,

“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.”

It seems to me that the inference here is to implore each of us to begin to manifest our God-ordained Identity as Sons and Daughters that can be trusted to represent the heart of a Loving Father to a world that perhaps has ideas to the contrary, individuals who know what it is to answer the call of being agents of change and transformation in a mundane and stagnant world, people who know how to love well and live lives that point to The Truth which has enabled them to come thus far, in the first place.

Our decision to manifest our true Identity can find expression in different ways, from something as subtle as praying for a loved one to something as dynamic as proclaiming The Good News on a street corner, something as seemingly insignificant as finding significance in cleaning your baby’s diaper to something as formidable as launching a business that can revolutionize an entire industry, something as heartfelt as reaching out to your widowed neighbor to something as tenacious as daring to tread into the uncharted territory you know you were born to conquer.

It could be something tiny or something huge, but it will always be something of great impact, simply because it is revealing the heart of The One who made you to the ones around and about you, thereby allowing you to manifest your Identity as a Son or Daughter. It is my firm conviction that if every soul does it’s part, what we are talking about here has the potential to evolve into a radical movement till the Earth is restored to its promise of being an oasis of peace, a haven of safety and a spring of love.

Tracing our steps back, it won’t take much for us to realize that even the hope of all this to manifest is made possible ONLY because Grace first pursued us, set us free and and made our hearts so whole that the only possible response remains an echo of what God already says in His Word,

“Freely you have received, freely give.”

Suffice to say that a life that Grace has chosen to set free is simultaneously positioned to make great exploits for The Kingdom Of God, exploits that find both origin and definition in the intangibles we call love, grace, truth, mercy and compassion, exploits that can begin anywhere that God has us and eventually be extended to wherever God takes us, exploits that are of Eternal significance because they create and shift things in a realm Our Father cares deeply about, so much so that He sent His Only Son to die a painful death on The Cross, and by His Spirit, rise again, only so that things would never be the same again, but instead be readjusted to the mandate;

“On Earth as it is in Heaven.”

All because Grace first found us, a true revelation and a rich experience of which will leave us all reverberating with the truth encapsulated in the simple phrase He has led me to share,

“But because we have done nothing, we have EVERYTHING to do.”

Grace be with you.

Milestone

“I need You, but You want me.”

When we first come to Christ, it is because of one sole reason. We recognize our need for Him. With colossal masses of brokenness and despair threatening to take us out, it is only natural to respond to an invitation of Love that’s unconditional, Hope that extends all the way into Eternity and Mercy that triumphs over judgement. Surrender doesn’t just remain an option anymore. It guises itself as the beginning of a story of redemption that is going to be written by the hands that created the Heavens and the Earth, yet were pierced to give me the promise of a life beyond my past and a Grace-filled future that finds its way into life everlasting with Our Father in Heaven.

This is a faint glimmer of the divine exchange that happened at Calvary, and can be appropriated by literally anyone who finds themselves lost, hurting, empty or in pain. I’m guessing that sounds like each and every one of our stories. I definitely vouch for mine!

Broken cisterns are what we are, but not what we remain because the divine exchange that we have appropriated finds its way into a life of wholeness in and through a relationship with Jesus. That is why we NEED Him. His Grace that manifests as strength in our weakness, His Love that heals our hearts and binds up our wounds, His Mercy that keeps no record of wrongs, His Presence that is our forever-promise.

Clearly, for a life marred with the pain of rejection, abandonment, abuse, addiction, disease, or any other affliction that life has a propensity to through our way; Jesus is the ONLY ONE who is not only willing, but delights in getting His Hands dirty to sort through our messes and mistakes. He accepts us for just who we are and slowly but surely, begins a work marked by Grace. We come to Him with issues of the heart, mind, body and soul that at times, neither man nor medicine have answers for. If you have walked with Him for any length of time, you can join me in praising Him for the way He takes lost and broken souls and makes them salt and light in a lost and broken world.

Who can do this but God?

Clearly, we NEED Him.

But the best part of this dynamic is that we may need Him, but He? WANTS us.

Heaven is His Throne and the Earth is His footstool. So, I asked Him;

“Why do You want us?”

I believe He said because He recognizes our need for Him. He knows we can’t do this thing called life alone, neither were we designed to. We were always meant to walk with Him in “the cool of the day,” and even when we faltered, He already had a plan of redemption in place to restore us back into a healthy, organic and vibrant relationship with Him. He created us, and loves us enough to woo us back into His Presence which is the only thing where we truly come alive, and begin to manifest who we were originally designed to be.

In my own life experience, the more I have journeyed with Him, the more I have experienced His love heal my broken heart and bring it back to wholeness, the more I have witnessed His Spirit touch and transform me in places that I once had no hope for, the more I have seen His Power and Might make a way where there seemed to be none.

Suffice to say, the more I have sought Him, the more He has revealed Himself. The more He has revealed Himself, the more I have realized the relentless passion with which He loves us, a passion that some crazy kind of way has found its way into my heart. The net result is simple. Where I once needed Him, I still do; except that with every passing day, I find that “need” now begin to become a “want.”

To me, that’s a milestone!

So friends, if this narrative even remotely resonates with you, then together let us lift our voices to Him with one heart and say,

“I don’t just need You, I want You.”

The need of the hour

“It’s not about having the answers. It’s about having the love.”

When we have tasted of God’s Love, it’s only very natural to want to share it with the ones that God has placed in our lives. We want them to know that there is a Higher Name who is the Way, the Truth, the Life. There is a Person who is waiting with open arms, willing to wipe our slate clean, sort through our messes and take us Home.

But what I have realized is this. We can share and preach, but what really helps us to reach is the power of love, the kind of love that The Father has bestowed upon us, the kind of love that accepts people JUST for who they are, the kind of love that never gives up. As I write, I’m reminded of how The Word elucidates ever so eloquently,

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails.”

Love is not a fuzzy feeling nor a fleeting emotion. Love is a lifestyle that is threaded into the very fabric of our being. It is our response to The Father whose love never quits and remains relentless in its pursuit of our hearts. It is a choice we get to make every single day.

I still remember how during one of my moments with The Lord, He impressed upon me a simple truth that I passionately want to cling to, all the days of my life. It’s very simple really,

“Love people. It will give them the faith to believe.”

This statement hit home and rattled the rib cage of my soul. As the Word says, we can have the faith that moves mountains, but if we have not love, we have nothing at all.

So true.

I have since committed to surrendering to the power of love. Still a student, I often stumble but thank God who promises us,

“He that has begun a good work in us shall complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

God can reach whoever He wants to reach, whenever He chooses to do so; but He burns for us to partner with Him in this journey so that we, ourselves, can transform and become love, thereby morphing into a potent instrument to affect those in the blast radius of our love with a message that can alter the trajectory of their Destiny. The obedience is our part, but the outcome and timing is The Father’s prerogative. What we do in the meanwhile brings to memory the wise words of Bill Johnson,

“There’s only one thing more important than the miracle. That’s your faithfulness in the midst of mystery.”

Friends, we are all living in a giant neighborhood called Earth. What our world needs to see more than anything else is an authentic display of love that is both, tenacious and tender; tenacious in the pursuit yet tender in the way. We are bound to encounter obstacles and disappointment on this journey for people aren’t perfect anymore than we, ourselves are. Circumstances may seem to suggest otherwise, but our steadfast love will sustain that which has already been set in motion.

As I hasten to a close, let me part with the undaunted words of Christine Caine,

“If people can feel our love, they will hear our words.”

Can I get an Amen?

Respond well.

“Circumstances are only an opportunity to manifest The Kingdom of God.”

Even in the midst of adverse circumstances, we have a choice to make. We can either take flight in fear, or confront them by faith. This may not always be easy, as our natural human reaction would perhaps be one of fear. But how many of us are grateful that The Spirit of The Living God that dwells within us empowers us to choose well, choose in line with The Word of God, choose to manifest the Kingdom of God.

I believe if we can ask ourselves in any given situation, “What does Love look like here?” we would experience radically different outcomes. An exhortation by Bill Johnson comes to mind where he says that we should live not in reaction to the forces of darkness, but in response to The Father. Our Father is a Father of Love, Grace and Mercy. As His children, we have the mandate of representing Him well in the world we find ourselves in.

It naturally follows that whether you are struggling in your relationship with your spouse, whether you are believing incessantly for your child to turn around, whether you are dealing with a difficult boss at work, whether you are trying to co-operate with that co-worker who tries every bit of your patience; whatever the scenario you find yourself in today, ask yourself this simple yet prudent question:

“What does Love look like in this situation?”

You will be surprised at the answers.

It may look like forgiveness. It may look like grace. It may look like compassion. It may look like empathy. It may look like something that enables you to step outside the box and put yourself in another’s shoes. It may teach you to look at the situation through their eyes. It may enrich your understanding of the person you are dealing with, the challenge you are contending with, the issue you are grappling with. It may introduce you to Heaven’s perspective, a perspective that is rooted in Love.

So the next time you are tempted to resent that which God has called you to touch and transform, remind yourself of this simple statement,

“Circumstances are only an opportunity to manifest the Kingdom of God.”

Selah.


Time for Truth!

“Don’t give language to what you don’t want to give life to.”

I believe we are all innately wired to be overcomers. Life will do a daring job to intimidate us with defeat and despair, loss and grief, fear and hopelessness. We all have shards of broken dreams or fractured relationships, the remnants of which, if left, untreated, will only seep into wounds that will fester overtime, threatening to sabotage our God-ordained Destiny.

In the face of such a glaring reality, what does our response look like?

One word – FAITH!

Faith is not calling those things that are as though they are not. Faith is calling those things that are not, as though they ARE.

We don’t deny the reality that confronts us. We acknowledge the circumstances we find ourselves in, but we are faithful and faith-filled enough to elevate the Truth of the Word of God which has the power to CHANGE circumstances.

So, my question is: what are we confessing?

The Bible so eloquently puts it,

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

In the face of overwhelming circumstances, I implore you to lay a hold of Scripture and declare The Word of God over your lives, till you watch the atmosphere shift, circumstances alter and victory manifest. Let me share some with you:

  1. I am who God says I am.
  2. I can do what God says I can do.
  3. I can have what God says I can have.
  4. I can be what God says I can be.
  5. I have been chosen for such a time as this.
  6. I have been justified and redeemed.
  7. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
  8. I am Heaven sent, sent on assignment and Heaven bound.
  9. I will live and not die. and declare the works of The Lord.
  10. I am an image bearer of God.
  11. I am an anointed child of God.
  12. I am healed by the stripes of Jesus.
  13. I am a giant slayer and a world changer.
  14. I am a vessel of generational blessings.
  15. I am a Kingdom builder and a life giver.

Dear friend, I hope and pray that you will consistently choose to exercise the power of your declarations in a way that not only affirms your God-given Identity; but empowers you to be salt and light bringing forth the God colors of life. When the world seems to cave in and you are faced with formidable circumstances to confront, tempestuous storms to weather and deep valleys that seem too daunting; you may be tempted to criticize, condemn or complain; but I am here today to encourage you to not give language to what you don’t want to give life to. I am here today to tell you you can and WILL rise above. I am here to tell you that Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. I am here to tell you that you are not alone, my friend. God Himself, Immanuel tabernacles with us, is in our midst and delights in revolutionizing the messes we tend to dish up for ourselves for our good and His Glory.But it is upto us to align our faith with what He has spoken over our lives, and our language with the heartbeat of Heaven; a language that is seeped in Faith, Hope and Love; a language that the angels hearken to, a language that brings joy to The Father’ Heart, a language that emanates from the depths of a victor destined to win and leave this world a better place.

And that’s YOU, my friend.

Believe it. Live it. Unleash it.

All my love!